MANGA REVIEW | "Love’s in Sight!" - Volume One
Real love conquers all obstacles, both physical and metaphorical. This sums up the lesson that Uoyama aims to teach in their series Love’s in Sight!, which brings a fresh take to the rom-com genre. However, it’s how it’s executed that makes this one of the most delightful new surprises in manga today. And it all starts with a delinquent and his out-of-nowhere defeat.
Love’s in Sight! begins with the tale of Mori the Black Panther. He’s got a reputation of being the baddest guy on the streets, defeating high school hooligans since he was ten. For years, no one has ever been able to knock Mori down. But even before the manga gets five pages in, Mori is defeated by Yukiko, a blind girl whose cane accidentally hits the Black Panther in a no-no spot. That’s when Mori starts begging to help Yukiko, with their boss-and-servant roles slowly transforming into something else.
Yukiko has spent much of her life being waited on due to her poor sight, to the point where she can’t do much by herself without aid. But Mori’s entrance into her life brings a lightning bolt of change to her lifestyle, even if it’s still not an easy path to walk. The dynamics change when Mori takes Yukiko to a movie, only for the tough guy Mori to be flustered by both Yukiko’s actions and cuteness. It’s also the moment Mori starts seeing that the world wasn’t built to support someone like Yukiko; in fact, it’s not built well for anyone that’s disabled!
Readers quickly see what Yukiko has to deal with in order to achieve her definition of “living life”. From trying to memorize store layouts to needing an audio description option for the theater, Love’s in Sight! goes to great lengths to showcase her daily struggles. Even talking to Mori has its share of problems, as her short stature and quiet demeanor make it hard for him to hear her at times. (Of course, this is sometimes because Yukiko becomes embarrassed when she’s trying to compliment him.)
One of the things that this manga does well is that it teaches these lessons about disabled people without being preachy about it. It doesn’t hammer the brain with Yukiko’s thought process on how her older sister Izumi sees her or Mori complaining that a video store has nothing to help those with sight issues. Instead, it shoots an arrow through the heart as it demonstrates the feelings that Yukiko and some of the other characters showcase when they’re looked at as burdens rather than human beings. And that, readers, is what makes Love’s in Sight! a series that everyone should read!
Yukiko doesn’t just change herself thanks to Mori; Mori also betters himself because of Yukiko. His tough guy demeanor is already gone before the first chapter is halfway through, replaced by a nervous person trying to impress a girl he’s smitten with. On top of that, he even goes the extra mile to seek employment so he can buy Yukiko something nice (and helpful to the soft talking situation), with him also mending bridges with a former rival to get himself a job. Throughout its debut volume, Love’s in Sight! goes many lengths to demonstrate how to be a better person.
Fortunately, it also happens to be funny as hell! Mori’s reaction to the movie he and Yukiko are watching, Izumi reacting to her little sister’s gift from her (not) boyfriend, and Mori mucking up the proper way to hold an umbrella for a lady are just a few of the many laugh-out-loud moments that this first volume has on display. It also helps that Uoyama’s art style bounces between being both cute and silly-looking, with visuals that are reminiscent of Yasunobu Yamauchi’s the daily lives of high school boys.
There’s a lot to love and embrace in Love’s in Sight!, thanks to original premise and a great bunch of characters with true-to-life emotions. Its debut volume alone goes this distance with its life lessons and stellar comedy, packing in as much development in 200 pages as three volumes of your average rom-com manga. If this is only the start of Love’s in Sight!, then I am absolutely looking forward to seeing how Mori and Yukiko continue to grow and evolve as the narrative goes on.
Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media.